NaNoWriMo · Writing

The NaNo Diaries: Planners vs. Pantsers – Who You Wit’?

So, it’s officially March and Camp NaNoWriMo begins in a month. Based on our discussion last week, you’ve wholeheartedly decided to jump in and take the fireside leap with me into this April writing challenge. Hush. Yes, you did.



That said, you have about thirty days to decide your story, develop your characters, and get the last of your leisure reading out before you fully devote yourself to the task…or do you?

Because in the world of NaNo, you are either a Planner or a Pantser.

A Felix or an Oscar.

A Jay-Z or a Kanye.

A Louise or a Thelma.

Either one you choose to be on this journey is up to you. Some writers who are Planners during the November event look forward to forgoing plot structure during Camp NaNo and become Pantsers (I mean, it is camp, after all. Plot, Schmot!).

Others may be tackling an intense rewrite and need all of the focus (read: psychosis) being a Planner involves.

Or, maybe you are a hardcore Planner or Pantser, no matter what month of the year it is.

Since I’ll be chronicling my Camp NaNo journey, clearly I am Team Planner. My topic for next week (building plot sequence) may be of particular interest to you, regardless of your chosen method.

Also, I encourage writers to buddy up with someone with a different method. One of my writer buddies is a notorious Pantser. She simply sits at the computer on Day One of any writing challenge and….like, types with abandon. Writing with her is intriguing because she’s taught me how to let go of the literary blueprint in my head and allow my imagination to float – if only for a moment.  Likewise, when it’s time to edit, she seeks counsel from me – a slightly neurotic Planner – on how to best pull together her first draft into a cohesive narrative.

So Planners and Pantsers UNITE and let’s get through Camp NaNo together. Creativity strikes best when collective minds come together!

(c) Eliza David – FacebookTwitterInstagram


7 thoughts on “The NaNo Diaries: Planners vs. Pantsers – Who You Wit’?

  1. Hey there, I’m new to your blog but thought I would chime in.

    My answer: Both.

    I planned out my novel with a full outline of everything that would happen.

    Then I started writing it, and it totally evolved. Which I’m definitely okay with. It’s a lot better work because of it. It feels good to be a both. I get to hang with all the cools that way. 🙂

    Best of life and writing to you.



  2. I’m a bit of both. I usually start thinking about my novel idea a month or two in advance and just jot down ideas whenever they come to my mind. Then I try to compile them into a cohesive list. I use that list as reference when I’m writing. A lot of times while I’m writing I may start getting new ideas that takes the story in a whole other direction and then I go with that. Full plot outlines don’t usually help me on the first draft because my ideas change so often. Also I like working with character sheets. Knowing my characters the best helps me. So I guess characters first and then plot for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard a lot of ‘both’ replies and I think that’s the best approach overall. I do enjoy my plot sequencing & (like you) character sheets, so some planning is necessary, I think. But once you have a roadmap in place, it’s fun to pants a little and go off course! ☺️


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